You got me again, Tiger.
You had me believing. You had me hoping. You had me thinking that all that Thursday fist-pumping and Friday roaring would lead to weekend glory of old. You got me.
I was all pumped up for a weekend of ‘Tiger is back’ talk and TIGER ROARS AGAIN! Headlines. The PGA Tour wanted it. Golf Channel wanted it. CBS wanted it. I WANTED IT! Heck, the Wyndham Championship printed nearly 50,000 extra tickets when Tiger announced he’d be there!
But, what we got was the same old, same old. At least he made the weekend this time. At least he got to put on the red shirt and swing on Sunday. The problem was, he used up all the Tiger magic on Thursday and Friday. By the time we all tuned in on Saturday, the birdies disappeared. The eagles were non-existent.
By the time Tiger went on a four birdie streak to close out his final six holes in the tournament, he was so far behind it barely registered. He can thank the triple bogey on 11 for that.
Hope was still alive that there would be some Sunday fireworks when he stepped to the tee on 11. He was even for the day and only three shots back of Davis Love III, the ageless wonder. Then Tiger sent a chip across the green that looked a lot like a rock being skipped across a pond, then chunked his next attempt just a few feet, then three-putted and kissed his chances of winning goodbye, his chances at making the FedEx Cup playoffs field goodbye and our opportunity to daydream about seeing a winning Tiger this year, goodbye.
I’m beginning to think that it will never happen. The number everyone was looking at was 18. Would Woods pass Jack for most majors all time. The number 82 was a formality. It was just a speed bump on the way to the Hall of Fame. Tiger was going to blow past Sam Snead for the most victories in PGA Tour history and continue chasing down Jack and the title of ‘best golfer ever’.
He’s still stuck on 79 wins and has been since 2013. Will he ever win again? For the first two rounds this week, it looked like it would happen. Then the weekend rolled around and two years or disappointment rolled in with it.
I had a buddy tweet at me this weekend about Tiger. It was a well-informed, thoughtful sentiment (see left photo).
My response was simply, but he’s STILL the biggest name and the biggest draw in golf and that can’t be duplicated. We are starved for Tiger to win. Golf is starved for it, too. The game is only producing such incredible talent because Tiger was so dominant 15 years ago. The current hot-shot generation of unbelievable players – Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, etc. – all grew up watching Tiger be Tiger.
Now, they’re passing him by in a hurry. It’d be great to see him close that gap, at least a little. Don’t tell me he’s too old now. Davis Love III was in the field with Tiger on Sunday and became the third-oldest PGA Tour winner ever. There is still time to see that Tiger return.